HydroNET wins prestigious award for co-created water and climate services

How the Water Control Room provides an ICT solution for South African water challenges

Over 80 projects funded by the Dutch ‘Partners for Water’ programme competed for the prestigious ‘best project’ award. The project ‘Demonstration of the HydroNET Water Control Room for South Africa’ has won. The jury explained: “This consortium provided a measurable contribution to solving world-water problems”.

Water Control Room to take informed decisions

South Africa suffers from water stress. Fresh-water demand is expected to exceed water availability by 2025. To efficiently manage the available water resources and reduce the impacts, water managers need access to historic, current and forecasted water and weather information. The online HydroNET Water Control Room translates terabytes of data from radars, satellites, and other monitoring sources into easy to understand online decision-support dashboards. These dashboards empower water managers to make well-informed and transparent decisions for the sustainable management of their water systems.

International software, local partners, tailored solutions

The award-winning project started in 2012 during a workshop organised by the Kingfisher project. In that project, Dutch water boards cooperate with catchment management agencies in South Africa. Brian Jackson of the Inkomati-Usuthu Catchment Management Agency (IUCMA) immediately saw the potential of HydroNET to improve river and reservoir operations.

With the support of Partners for Water, a Dutch – South African consortium was formed to co-create climate and water services: HydroLogic, eLeaf, South African Weather Service, KNMI, University of Twente, WineJob and IUCMA.

For sustainable river and dam operations, access to weather information is of key importance. The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has a lot of valuable weather information, but did not have the operational tools to enhance and share it. Michelle Hartslief, manager commercial SAWS: “Thanks to the cooperation with the Dutch Weather Service KNMI and HydroLogic we have enhanced our data quality and data accessibility. Now we make all our data available through HydroNET. Our cooperation helped to create an efficient business model. The revenue helps us to further improve our monitoring network and services. This way, all South African weather-sensitive industries benefit.”

Jennifer Molwantwa executive of IUCMA: “Hydrologists, meteorologists, software developers and local experts worked closely together to tailor HydroNET to our needs. The Control Room helps IUCMA identifying misuse of irrigation water and gives us the tools to share the information with all our stakeholders, including our neighbouring countries. This openness creates a joint understanding of our decisions.”

“We are very proud of being able to help South Africa in their efforts to solve water problems. Over 25 South African organisations are currently using the HydroNET Water Control Room. The Partners for Water project was the first step to sustainable business in which we will continue to provide services to South African water managers, using innovative ICT.” says Leanne Reichard, leader of the project consortium and Business Director of HydroLogic.